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Did online dating change my perception of permanence? When I sensed the breakup coming, I was okay with it.

It didn’t seem like there was going to be much of a mourning period, where you stare at your wall thinking you’re destined to be alone and all that.

What if it raises the bar for a good relationship too high?

What if the prospect of finding an ever-more-compatible mate with the click of a mouse means a future of relationship instability, in which we keep chasing the elusive rabbit around the dating track?

In the past, Jacob had always been the kind of guy who didn’t break up well. His desire to be with someone, to not have to go looking again, had always trumped whatever doubts he’d had about the person he was with. “I feel like I underwent a fairly radical change thanks to online dating,” Jacob says.

“I went from being someone who thought of finding someone as this monumental challenge, to being much more relaxed and confident about it.

Rachel was young and beautiful, and I’d found her after signing up on a couple dating sites and dating just a few people.” Having met Rachel so easily online, he felt confident that, if he became single again, he could always meet someone else.

After two years, when Rachel informed Jacob that she was moving out, he logged on to the same day. Messages had even come in from people who couldn’t tell he was no longer active.

A Million First Dates How online romance is threatening monogamy Dan Slater The Atlantic After going to college on the East Coast and spending a few years bouncing around, Jacob moved back to his native Oregon, settling in Portland.“I’m about 95 percent certain,” he says, “that if I’d met Rachel offline, and if I’d never done online dating, I would’ve married her.At that point in my life, I would’ve overlooked everything else and done whatever it took to make things work.Around this time, he signed up for two online dating sites: Match.com, a paid site, because he’d seen the TV ads; and Plenty of Fish, a free site he’d heard about around town. At first I just thought it was some kind of weird lucky streak.” After six weeks, Jacob met a 22-year-old named Rachel, whose youth and good looks he says reinvigorated him. (Both names have been changed for anonymity.) Rachel didn’t mind Jacob’s sports addiction, and enjoyed going to concerts with him. She was from a blue-collar military background; he came from doctors.She placed a high value on things he didn’t think much about: a solid credit score, a 40-hour workweek.

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